Pop-up camping and car parks - planning guidance

The Government grants planning permission for temporary uses of land which can be undertaken without a planning application – known as permitted development rights. This allows certain temporary use of land to take place without planning application. The Government has granted additional temporary permissions for 2021 allowing, cumulatively, up to 56 days of temporary uses where the necessary legal requirements are met.

We understand that some landowners wish to take advantage of these permitted development rights and operate temporary uses during summer 2021, including temporary car park and pop-up campsites. We also recognise that some people are concerned about potential sites.

Well located and effectively operated sites can broaden the range of tourist provision available and may alleviate some of the pressures experienced last summer (e.g. fly-camping and parking problems). Badly located or poorly run sites meanwhile can have adverse impacts.

This page answers some of the common questions we’ve been getting about temporary uses from prospective operators and people concerned about sites.

Running a temporary campsite

What does the Government grant planning permission for?

The Government’s planning permission for temporary uses can be read here:

Can I operate different temporary uses, each for 56 days (e.g. 56 days of camping and another 56 days of car parking)?

No. The 56 day limit is the total allowed for all temporary uses, cumulatively. A small number of uses are subject to shorter limits, as set out in the regulations.

Can I have 56 days of camping in one field, then another 56 days in the adjacent field?

No. The 56 day limit applies to the whole land holding, not just the field or parcel.

Can I do permanent works to facilitate the temporary uses?

No. The planning permission granted by the Government for temporary uses does not allow permanent works or operations.

Can I put up tents units at Easter and leave them on the land until the end of August, as long as I only let them for 56 days?

No. Each day that the tents are on the land counts towards your 56 days, even if they are not occupied.

Can I bring facilities onto my land and leave them there for the season?

Having facilities on your land (e.g. temporary toilets) can count to your 56 day limit, even if the site is unoccupied.

Do sites need to provide toilet, shower and other facilities?

The planning permission granted by the Government does not include any requirement to provide sanitation or other facilities. However operators should ensure that their sites comply with all relevant requirements, not just planning regulations.

What about glamping?

There are a wide range of glamping units on the market for sale. Their legal position varies. Some may be uses of land, some buildings, others may be caravans. Some may be permissible without application, and others may not, depending upon their specification and circumstances.

A prospective operator can make a lawful development certificate application to obtain a formal decision from the Authority whether a glamping proposal would require full planning permission.

Can I have caravans on a 56 day site?

Caravans and are subject to different rules.  Caravans may only be sited if an exception in Schedule 1 of the Caravan Site and Control of Development Act 1960 applies.  In all other cases using land for caravans needs planning permission.

Can I have motorhomes on a 56 day site?

Motorhomes are caravans, and are subject to different rules (see caravans above)

Can I have a temporary site in my garden?

No.  The planning permission granted by the Government does not allow temporary uses within the curtilage buildings.

Why is the national park allowing 56 day sites?

56 day temporary uses are part of the national planning system and are allowed by the Government.

Is there a limit on the number of campers on a site under the 56 day permission?

No. The planning permission granted by the Government does not impose any limit on the number of people who can camp on a temporary site.

Is there any restriction on temporary uses in designated habitats?

Temporary campsites, car parks and toilets blocks within Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) should only be erected after written consent from Natural England has been requested and received, under The Countryside and Right of Way Act. This process will be needed to determine if there will be impacts on the SSSI from the proposed development.

If land is within or close to a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), Special Protection Area (SPA) or Ramsar Site, then there is potential for temporary developments to impact these sites. If you cannot be certain that there will be no impact on the qualifying features of the SAC/SPA/Ramsar you will need prior approval from us before you commence your temporary use. You will need to apply to us for a determination on whether you can proceed. A fee is payable. We will carry then out a Habitat Regulations Assessment under the Conservation of Habitat and Species Regulations 2017 to determine if there will be any impacts on the European Sites. Habitats Regulations Assessments are made based on the information you provide and in consultation with Natural England. If required, Natural England can offer advice to developers on the potential for significant effects on SAC/SPA/Ramsar site through their chargeable Discretionary Advice Service which would reduce the timeframe for this process. 28 and 56 day planning development allowances are not exempt.

If you are unsure if your land is in, or close to, a SSSI/SAC/SPA or Ramsar site you can check on the designations layer on MAGIC (defra.gov.uk)

You must also ensure that operating a temporary campsite, car park, toilet block, or other temporary use does not put you in breach of any environmental stewardship or countryside stewardship agreements that are already in place on the land. Breach of stewardship agreements would put you at risk of reclaims by the Rural Payments Agency.

Is there a limit on the number of cars on a temporary car park site under the 56 day permission?

No. The planning permission granted by the Government does not impose any limit on the number of cars on a temporary site.

Do pay and display machines need permission?

Yes. Permanent pay and display machines require planning permission.

Can I create a new hard surface for a temporary car park?

No. The formation of permanent areas of hard surface requires planning permission.

Concerns about temporary campsites

I am concerned about that a site near me. What should I do?

If you believe a site is operating in breach of planning control you should report this to planning@lakedistrict.gov.uk. It would significantly assist us in investigating alleged breaches if you had kept a diary of:

  • Dates that tents/caravans/glamping/toilets etc were sited/present/or removed from the land
  • Dates that a site was in use
  • Dated photographs showing the above

A temporary site near me has a dangerous access. Can the Local Planning Authority shut it before the 56 day limit?

No. The planning permission granted by the Government does not include any requirements for highway safety. We could only look to take action if the use continues in breach of planning control.

A temporary site near me is unneighbourly. Can the Local Planning Authority shut it before the 56 day limit?

No. The planning permission granted by the Government does not include any protections for neighbours.  We could only look to take action if the use continues in breach of planning control.

A temporary site is causing litter and pollution, is this a planning matter?

No. We cannot take action against a temporary site unless it is being operated in breach of planning control.

What will happen if a site operates in breach of planning control?

Operating a temporary site in breach of planning control is unlawful, and at risk of formal enforcement action.  We will notify landowners of our intention to take formal action, but will not delay enforcement action to pursue voluntary resolution where uses are clearly unacceptable on their planning merits.

Where can I find out more about permitted development?

The Government's National Planning Practice Guidance provides more information about permitted development rights.

Can I talk to someone to get planning advice?

We offer a Duty Planner Monday to Friday, 09:30 to 12:00 to provide general planning advice. Please phone 01539 724555.